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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Bumbino is a young bumblebee. All he wants to do is explore and make some new friends. As he flies over the beautiful Abruzzi Forest in Italy, Bumbino learns some Italian phrases. While learning to communicate is important, what Bumbino really wants is to make some new friends to play with. Each little animal that he encounters is frightened by his presence. They have been told that bumblebees are dangerous and they can sting. Bumbino is a sad little bumblebee until he meets a young skunk who is shunned for his smell. All goes right when Bumbino saves the life of a baby bird, stinging the predator and scaring it away. Now everyone thinks Bumbino is a hero and they all want to be his friend.
We are all born different and author Art Manno has created a delightful story in Bumbino: The Italian Bumble Bee that explores some of these differences, and how it's important to overlook them and accept all life for what it is. There is value in each and every one of us and this is a valuable lesson for children to learn. The book also teaches a little bit of Italian and there are some Bumbino messages, some "Bumbino How to Bee Attitudes" at the end to remind children to "Bee Nice, Bee Kind, Bee Helpful, Bee Good," etc. This is a beautiful story with wonderful illustrations, teaching young readers the importance of accepting differences. There is also a bonus section at the end including some pages for young readers to color in themselves.